Mumbai: Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. won more subscribers to become India’s biggest telecom operator, as companies prepare for the planned rollout of a 5G network next year.
Reliance Jio’s subscriber base grew to 331.3 million in the quarter ended June, the company reported July 19. That’s higher than nearest rival Vodafone Idea Ltd., which on Friday said its users fell to 320 million from 334.1 million last quarter.
Launched three years ago by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man, Reliance Jio’s rapid growth has been fuelled by more than $36 billion in spending. Deep pockets helped the company lead intense competition that has driven India’s data tariffs to the lowest in the world. Bruised by the price war, firms have either been forced to shut down or combine with other players, such as the local unit of Vodafone Group Plc that merged with Idea Cellular Ltd.
Reliance Jio became No. 2 in May, when its market share increased to 27.8 per cent, according to data released by the industry regulator Trai. Vodafone Idea’s market share was 33.4 per cent and Bharti Airtel Ltd. had 27.6 per cent of the wireless market.
Most of Asia’s largest wireless carriers are in the process of testing 5G networks, with plans to introduce them commercially in 2020.